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Issue #2003 - 30 (November 2003)
(Updated Nov. 26, 2003)


FCC Decision on Number Portability Between Wireline & Wireless
Souce: CTIA News

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled last month to allow telephone customers to keep their numbers when transferring between their wireless and wireline service in the largest 100 metropolitan areas in the country. Commenting on the ruling, Steve Largent, president and chief executive of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) said, "America's land-line telephone customers will have choices like never before." Local phone companies are protesting the FCC's actions saying wireless carriers can take their customers, but they cannot take the wireless carrier's customers. Wireless number portability goes in effect on November 24.

The Management Network Group, US-based consultancy, has estimated that 19 million consumers would transfer their home numbers to wireless phones if they had the option. About 5% of wireless consumers, or about 7 million Americans, have already "cut the cord" and rely solely on wireless service for their voice telecommunications needs. 

"The FCC has taken a bold step today, moving away from command and control regulation, and towards greater reliance on competition and market forces to improve American consumers' telephone services," added Largent.

For a list of the 100 MSA's affected by the order visit the industry's web site, www.easyporting.com, which also includes helpful information for consumers who choose to transfer their number.

Position of Bell Companies on WNP
Many of the Bell companies are saying the ruling is unfair. At the same time, the Bells are saying they don't expect many landline customers to move to wireless. Analysts believe it will take months to conquer technical and administrative obstacles needed to prepare for such a move. Communication between competing carriers represents one of the main obstacles. Analyst Leif Hoglund with RHK says he doesn't see "any of the wireline providers cooperating with land-line to wireless-number portability." The FCC says the wireline phone companies knew the move was coming and should have been preparing for it. Sprint Corp. and Verizon Communications support the FCC decision. 

Position of Rural Carriers on WNP
Rural wireless service providers are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to exempt them from immediately complying with wireless number portability (WNP) rules. These operators, which do not fall under the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), are asking for the exemption based on a subset of their mostly rural customer base, which will need to comply with portability rules as of May 24, 2004. The Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (Opastco) filed a petition along with a couple others that states that technical questions regarding the FCC's Nov. 7 order spelling out WNP obligations did not leave ample time to resolve issues specific to their networks.  For more information:http://www.ctia.com

Progress with WNP - First Day Stats Fall Below Expectations
It's been 24 hours since wireless number portability (WNP) was unveiled to the United States' top 100 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and everyone wants to know, how many people switched? According to an unknown source, U.S. wireless service providers likely ported less than 100,000 numbers for the day, far below the originally forecasted hundreds of thousands or even a million as some analysts projected. Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not officially tracking the telephone number transfers the Number Portability Administration Center Forecasting Group says that by the end of the year an excess of 12 million switches will take place.

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Wireless Number portability was blown up to be a big concern on the part of traditional carriers and big hope for cellular carriers. Reality is always in the center, not on edges. Of course, it is a victory for consumers and convergence.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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